Pondering Life Its Own Self

When I started this blog I wanted it to be about Pitt football – which it is with my own twists applied and with your comments, questions and suggestions. I believe you all appreciate the Pitt POV and the work that goes into it and so you should certainly believe that I appreciate all of you right back.

We Pitt fans love to talk about the football team, the Athletic Dept. and the university itself. That is what we care about and what has become – either in this century or the last – a big part of our lives be it if we are young or older. That is wrapped by the fact that at some point in our collective lives we all lived; slept, ate, drank and breathed in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood.

Thus we become friends on here also. 

I first noticed this phenomenon when I was writing on The Pitt Blather and realized I knew and cared about some people on there whom I have never met in person as much as I do my neighbors or my friends outside of the blog members writing, reading and commenting on shared things of interest.

So I’d like to take today’s article and talk to you as my friends who I want to share some personal things with.

My wife and I looked at each other a while ago and had the same thought at the same time; we had to get away from everything for a couple of days. We’ve had some rather serious family illness going on – but after 35 years of marriage these things come on, get dealt with and resolved and then we let it go.  We are pretty good at that.

But this time something was different and I’ll tell you what was a big part of it. This upcoming election and the 24/7 bullshit thrown up by the candidates, their supporters and by all the media talking heads. I know we don’t talk politics on here and I’m not pointing out one party or person or the other, I truly am not,  just that the whole thing is hard to believe and depressing as hell.

I’ve talked a lot about my career in the Coast Guard on here and will say one thing – after devoting 33 years of my life to serving the American public I’m honestly sad as hell that we’ve come down to this.

It is nothing but negative crap peddled by  media people who insist on showing the rotten side of things to keep viewers enthralled, and their pockets lined, rather than try to sift through the noise and give us voters some semblance of concrete information on the candidates so that we can cast an informed vote in good conscience.

I read a recent poll that showed 57% of us felt that we are  ‘stressed’ by what is happening this election. I believe that 100% and think it may be on the low side.  It isn’t that people are sick and tired – it is that people are disgusted by how this is playing out via the media and there is a big difference between the two.

I was one of those stressed guys so we grabbed hands and took off to Smith Island, Maryland to escape… and boy was it an escape.  Like going back in time 100 years escape… like another world escape. 

Smith Island lays about 15 miles off the town of Crisfield, MD which is the southernmost tip of Maryland’s Easter Shore and the only way to get there is by boat.

Image result for captain jason smith islandThus its isolation from the mainland and from the larger part of the rest of America.  It isn’t exaggerating to say that a majority of the 270+ people who live there go across the Bay to  ‘over there‘ maybe once or twice a year – and I met one lady who hadn’t done that, save a hospital visit, in over 20 years.

The Island is dependent on the centuries old business work of the Chesapeake Bay Watermen who have been pulling crab pots and tonging for oysters since they were children young enough to step onto a boat.

 photo oyster tongers_zps7qsnno0g.jpg

I didn’t see any man over the age of 60 who didn’t walk bent over due to decades of pole-pushing boats, pulling crab pots and using those huge iron & wood oyster tongs.  The median age of the island is 58 years old so that was a lot of the men there.

The most interesting part of their lives, to me, is that they all speak an Old English Elizabethan dialect that is drawn-out and mumbled  so strongly  that ‘off-islanders’ can’t hardly tell what they are saying.

The video below was shot from a table in the only general store on island and is where my wife and I sat while eating crab cakes – also listening to a later group of older men talking the afternoon away. Take a listen to this group (they are actually talking about  a fire started from an appliance):


Amazing – and that isn’t as strong an accent as what we heard. The only people without that old speech are the ‘newcomers’ to Smith Island which means anyone who moved there in the last 25 years apparently.

A strange thing is that even with the new technologies of today; satellite TV and the Internet and with the middle and high school kids going to Crisfield for school (by boat of course) and interacting with outsiders, the young people on the Island are not only still talking like that but with even stronger accents then their parents and grandparents have.

BTW – that shop above, one small restaurant and the church are the only public places. There is, surprisingly, a small post office that the USPS wanted to close down. That is  until the postal guy who went there to inform the local population of the bad news the office would close realized, while on a boat going to the island, that it was indeed an island in every sense of the word. They kept it open with cut down hours.

We spent the night in an old B&B  with nothing but our books and some food. No hosts at all, no one else in the Inn – just an open door (no one locks doors there) and some other food in the ‘fridge. Strange and eerie doesn’t begin to describe it.

The whole place was like it had stood still in time and is quiet as hell. Because there is literally nothing open past 4 pm  we made coffee and sat and read our books and talked the rest of the day.  At around 9:00 pm  I went out and walked around the perimeter of the island and noticed halfway through that not one house had any lights one – not one. Everything was pitch black but for a lampost here and there and the high tide was bringing water down the streets.

The ‘breakfast’ part of the B&B were waffles and egg omelets in the freezer… ‘help yourself!’

When we went back to Crisfield the next morning (by the same boat) we stopped up the road for a real breakfast and were in conversation with some town locals there. When we told them we just got back from the island and they didn’t understand and said “You mean you actually spent the night there?!

An Island Out of Time: A Memoir of Smith Island in the Chesapeake by Tom Horton is a good book on the island’s history.  But one piece of advice – there are morning tours of the island in the summer – boats out and back by noon.  Do one of those because it really is interesting a place and the people are very nice.  But get back to dry land before the ‘haints come out at night.

As weird as the whole experience was it really did relax me and gave me a chance to take a couple of days with no interruptions at all – we shut off our phones and didn’t take any  other electronics with us.  I sat back to take stock and reflect on just what things in life are of importance to me, what I hold dear, and what other things I can honestly say that I have no control over. 

It is those last things that have to be put in perspective. So I did and will continue to do so because I owe that to myself and others around me.

Starting with not watching one iota of the news or anything else about this upcoming election until the evening of Nov 8th.  I have good things to occupy my time.  Family, good books, my music and  a TV show or a movie to watch if I want entertainment.  Plus… I have you all to share thoughts with and to discuss Pitt football and other things in our lives.

That right there is a gift my friends and I’ll hold onto that while putting my fingers in my ears to all else that is just noise at this point.

146 thoughts on “Pondering Life Its Own Self

  1. gc — I agree that OSU sure doesn’t look like a top 2 team. And this PSU team doesn’t look much better than the one we beat. They have maybe improved a bit, but nothing that jumps out to me.


  2. I bet the entire Pitt team is watching this penn state game — Their confidence has to be going through the roof, showing them they can beat anybody — Pitt Football is Right There to get to top-20 status.


  3. You gotta wonder what Pedo State did to garner this win, Eliminating Ohio Fake possibly from the playoffs.

    Of course if past seasons are indicative, anytime Ohio Fake seems ‘out of it’, all kind of chaos ensues across the nation, to get them…….’back in the picture’.

    Hate both schools, teams, fan bases, etc. But pedo’s winning, gives Pitt’s Win over them a big boost to our SoS.


  4. gc
    October 22, 2016 at 8:55 pm
    DK, you better cut back on the Ritalin.


    btw we are a Constitutional Republic. Contrary to what some of the boob pols says.

    “I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the REPUBLIC for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”


  5. This might be wrong, but I feel a little good in that Pitt beat and at some points was trouncing(offensively) a team that just edged tOSU. I would have been perfectly happy for happy valley to go home sad but I have come to dislike tOSU enough to have this be tolerable just one time.


  6. A rising tide raises all boats.

    We will be at our best when our rivals are at theirs.

    Eastern football, even though not a conference needs to get great players to stay here and come here from the south. We play PSU 3 more times and WV is coming back on the schedule. Doesn’t help us if they are no good.

    Have to beat VT to keep up with the Jones.


  7. Gotta wonder though…the order of things. What if we played Penn State next week instead? Would they crush us based on their confidence level (and possibly just being a better team than they were earlier in the sreason) or would we win still and look better than we do now because we beat them AFTER they beat tOSU? I might go read some Sartre now and contemplate my reality.



  8. @Emel:


    btw we are a Constitutional Republic. Contrary to what some of the boob pols says.”

    Yeah, I know I know lol……. I was going for more of a Philosophical / Spiritual thang about American ideals being the “real binding factor” of our Society and all — poorly articulated and rambling though 😦 moving-on, back too Football:

    Dunno about State College — prolly gonna go make big bonfires and Tip over all the poor cows and party hard n’ all — cool for themBut tonight was a win for Pitt Football in the end 🙂 (lol at least from our-perspective)

    Pat Narduzzi to the team this week: “You smashed those guys in the mouth while they were here. We’re better than them, and we knew it from the first snap. We’re Stronger, Faster and downright-Nastier than them. We let them off the hook a little bit, and we should have Crushed them in our House, but in the end we handled business and proved with no doubt who was the better team……. Well, that team just beat The number two team in the Country. That Ohio State team won the National Championship two years ago, went 12 and 1 last year, and was undefeated this year. Have zero doubt about what we learned: We just found out that we are good enough to beat the Number 2 team in the Country on any given day. Now that we know that —– let’s go Handle Business vs. our Conference Rival, Virginia Tech, in front of the whole Country, only show in town, Under The Brightest Lights, IN OUR HOUSE!!!!!


    Goodnight…..wooo, way too much Ritalin…. hahaha


  9. panther94 – you could spend the rest of this weekend on Smith Island watching CNN.

    “Richard stands” and “Olive the other reindeer” was a good way to get me to turn in for the night.

    Cheers to Pitt, and to all a good night!


  10. So the game showed that Sanders will not see any time at psu until Barkley leaves after next year. Sanders will be a junior. I was thinking that Robert Foster really got hosed by going away. Then I thought Delvin Simmons was another WPIAL superstar 4 or 5 star that left and….well,,,,,didn’t even get drafted.

    Well, its not too late for foster to graduate and transfer. Simmons already is trying to make it in the league. Desmon Greene disappeared as well.


  11. Only good news for Pitt yesterday on the PSU win is that we beat them easier this season. Past that news it’s all down hill for Pitt especially on the recruiting front. Time for Narduzzi to find some more 2 and 3 stars that turn into 4 and 5 stars. Not an easy task by any stretch of the imagination.


  12. Congrats to PSU. They won that game with a gritty effort. Their defense was the key, pressured the OSU QB consistently. Special teams play is important too I guess. Ya Think!?!?!?


  13. Dr. Tom — yes they did a great job pressuring the QB, but that’s where The OSU’s problems lie. We ran for 300+ yards on PSU, and I’m sure they saw that film. They had a two score lead, and it was pouring rain. Why would you be throwing the ball 43 times? Urban is a fantastic coach and a fine recruiter, but he’s also a bit of a pompous fool.


  14. Congratulating a school that honored Joepa? The guy who turned his back on child molestation?
    I only wish both teams could have lost.


  15. One big difference in PSU is the return of Cabinda. He is a big run stopper and their best linebacker.

    The game was won and lost by special teams play though.

    Surprised how anemic both teams offenses looked.

    The whiteout was most impressive although I did notice some empty seats.

    You can understand why kids want to play in front of a crowd like that.

    Our empty yellow seats a big factor in recruitment.


  16. Poll notes:

    The BIG Joke conference will still have 4 teams in the top 10 (Mich, Neb, Wisconsin and tOSU).

    Does anyone on this blog believe that conference has 4 of the best 10 teams in the country right now?

    #11 Houston was crushed by SMU and will fall – opening the way for wvu to crack the top 10.

    Two SEC teams SHOULD drop from the top 25 with their loses this week – #17 Arkansas was embarrassed by Auburn 56-3 and #23 Ole Miss at 3-4 should be loonngg gone.

    That opens up two spots that vt and Ok State could fill – but watch the pedos of the BIG Joke leap in.

    Pitt needs to Jack up the jokies on prime time national TV on Thursday night to get noticed.



  17. Let’s hope our second half defense last week can be replicated for the rest of the year.

    If not we are in trouble, if so the sky is the limit.


  18. To be fair across the board it seems like parity has struck the entire college D-1 football world. (except bama) The ACC can stand up and be accounted for along with the rest of the conferences. All of a sudden the PITT schedule looks even tougher than it did 24 hours ago. An OSU win over wvu would change perspective not only on the this blog (Reed) but the entire nation. Been saying all along, PITT is closer than most believe.


  19. Pitt has a top twenty offense, maybe top ten, also offensive special teams. But the defense, especially pass defense is bottom of the barrel, making it really hard to figure how good we are. Especially hard to figure how we will finish.

    Our pass defense is noticeably better when we get a pass rush, unfortunately our pass rush disappears for long periods of time. Hope Price is healthy. Think we will see a few more plays with Conner at end.

    The VT game is huge for the season and maybe the program. Should be a sellout, but I expect 47,000 fans with about 5,000 cheering for VT.

    Should be another exciting game.


  20. panther94 – yea, I read that article too. Glad to see it was regarding another asu losing effort.

    It appears Pitt is competing with the Fraudster on a few recruiting prospects –

    We need to focus on jabbing the jokies of vt in the mouth and sending them home on Thursday night with their gobblers in a bunch…



  21. gc – I’ve been going to most home games for the past ten years and the crowds usually disappoint. The teams for the past 35 years have as well. This team is different.

    HCPN wants the house packed I’m sure, but more importantly he understands that his team needs to “show up” each and every week regardless of the crowd support. Winning “could” change the support, but it probably won’t happen anytime soon.

    Let’s hope the jokies of vt slip into the top 25 ahead of the pedos in today’s poll. HCPN could then make this a BIG win – not yet the “signature” win that is coming, but a BIG win in The Pursuit of the Coastal title.



  22. EE, I believe part of the attendance problem is all of the crushing defeats we have experienced at home, and I have been to most of them. Pittsburghers want to attend winning events, that is why so many casual fans do not show up. You see it with all of the sports teams. Winning will help the most.


  23. I guess the Football gods want Franklinstein to succeed at Pedo State. Whatever happened to the gang rape cases of the Vanderbilt players when Franklinstein was there.

    And when if EVER are the 3 Pedo Enabler Stooges of Pedo State going on Trial ???


  24. Speaking of the pass defense, being bottom of the barrel.

    Had the local Big AM Radio talker station yesterday, they have financial stuff on during the weekends, However they do also carry the Tarhole games. And at around 3 pm, the Tarhole at Virginia game came on, so I left it on and was listening while I was doing other things around the house.

    Virginia got the ball first and UNC came out defensively in a formation with 6 DBs and only 1 linebacker.

    The result of which was holding UVA to only 14 points and 143 yards passing, the Cavs lowest passing total of the entire season.

    UNC won easily 35-14. 6 DB’s eh, who would have thought of that, not Conklin.


  25. Emel – from a July 2016 news clip (with no mention of Franklinstein) –

    (Vandy players) Batey and Vandenburg were convicted last year, but the verdicts were tossed because a juror did not reveal he was a victim of statutory rape. They have both been convicted a second time. Two other players are awaiting trial.

    In handing down his sentence, Judge Watkins said the case stood out among the thousands he has seen in 32 years of practicing law.

    “I’ve seen so many cases, and this is one of the saddest,” Watkins said

    As for the pedo three trial – crickets except that the red head assistant coach McCleary had his day in court last month as he sued the university for wrongful termination.


  26. Thanks EE. They really helped bail out Franklinstein on that one. Had he stayed at Vandy, his career was thru after that verdict.

    ‘Some’ football coaches and ‘some’ pols are Above the Law.


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